To Cello or Not To Cello by Jackal

Submitted By: SenorPablo Date: 03/27/2011 02:00 AM Views: 75

From the paws of the Jackal: Articles for the cigar geek
To Cello or Not To Cello
The Eternal Question
The question comes up often enough.  Should I remove the cellophane wrappers from my cigars before I put them in my humidor, or not?  Below, is a list of arguments in favor of each of these options.

Arguments For Taking The Cellophane Off:
  • The cigars can breathe better –As cigars age, they outgas nitrogen compounds such as ammonia.  Removing the cellophane does allow these compounds to leave the close proximity of your cigars and can reduce the chance that these compounds may affect your cigars’ scent or flavor.
  • Cigars age faster when allowed to breathe – Everyone knows this and any old time cigar smoker will tell you this.  However, there has never been any reproducible evidence presented, or even empirical evidence, to back up this claim.  As far as I know, the aging process is neither catalyzed by nor consumes oxygen.  Temperature can speed up this reaction, but there is no published data that supports the idea that breathing does.
  • Cigars look cooler in the humidor without the cellophane – This point cannot be argued.  A humidor full of naked cigars is a beautiful sight to behold.

Arguments In Favor Of Keeping the Cellophane On:
  • Cellophane protects wrappers from abrasion – Whether it is due to handling or wrapper to wrapper rubbing, wrappers can be easily damaged.  Keeping cigars in cellophane significantly reduces wrapper damage.
  • Cellophane reduces the rate of humidity change – Cellophane is a semi-permeable membrane. Water can diffuse through it, but very slowly.  The effect of this is that cigars are better protected from humidity swings.  Humidity swings could happen from an improperly functioning humidor, or possibly from accidentally leaving the cigar out of the humidor.  I have seen heavy mold occur on naked sticks sitting next to celloed sticks that are fine.  I have also seen a cigar that had fallen behind a table remain undamaged even after a week of being out of the humidor.
  • The cellophane can help to contain an insect infestation – Lasioderma serriconecia, the dreaded cigar beetle, is the enemy of anyone who has a decent sized cigar collection.  These bugs, if unnoticed, can reduce your precious cigars into dust in the matter of a few months.  Cellophane can act as a barrier to help to keep beetles from transferring from one cigar to others.  It is not a 100% protection, but it can slow them down, and minimize the damage caused by an infestation.
  • Cellophane can prevent the transfer of oils from one cigar to another – I will not get into the debate of whether “marrying” of cigar flavors is real or not.  However, if you look at the cello of a cigar that has some age on it, you will see that it is stained yellow by oils.  If not for the presence of the cellophane, these oils would have transferred onto the wrappers of adjacent cigars, possibly affecting their appearance or flavors.
Each person must make their decision on whether to store their cigars with cellophane or not based on a number of factors including aesthetics, the size of the collection, storage methods, and the length of time that the cigars will be stored.  Therefore, my personal choice may differ from yours.

[Submitted by Cigar Geeks Member Jackal]

Comments

johnnyjihad
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12/31/2013 02:00 AM
Great info. I was talking this over with a few guys at work. I am the only one who keeps the cello.
tvolball
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11/25/2012 02:00 AM
Good info to think about since I am new to this. I have done some research online and I think the general consensus agrees with you 100%
Cfickter
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04/25/2012 02:00 AM
Great information. I do prefer to remove the cellos but can understand both arguements
jhalfhill
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03/21/2012 02:00 AM
I like my cigars like I like my women.
robustoguy
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12/23/2011 02:00 AM
I simply push the cigar out to the open end, and then cut the closed end off close to the head with a pair of scissors, this lets them breath a little on each end and provides some protection as well.
BigTA
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11/30/2011 02:00 AM
Great info
southernrun
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09/23/2011 02:00 AM
Well thought out article! I have accidentally damaged some cigars that were naked.
RoscozRevenge
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08/26/2011 02:00 AM
Thanks for the break down Jason.
Cigary
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08/18/2011 02:00 AM
Good article for any who want to see both sides of the coin.
mountedshriner
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03/28/2011 02:00 AM
Very informative Jason. Thanks for the research and the insight.
southernpacifico
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03/27/2011 02:00 AM
NICELY DONE JASON
Dave S.
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03/27/2011 02:00 AM
Great job . . . as usual.
junglepete
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03/27/2011 02:00 AM
Thanks for the info Jason. As much as I always like the idea of having a small humi with naked cigars, they still get damaged fronm being handled and so I stick to strictly cello wrapped.
Romeo
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03/27/2011 02:00 AM
thanks for the article Jason, very good insight on both sides
SenorPablo
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03/27/2011 02:00 AM
Great article Jason!  Thanks for laying out the arguments both ways.  For me, it''s still cello on mainly because of how beat up my sticks seem to get otherwise.